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Article

NK and T Cell Immunological Signatures in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19

Respiratory Diseases Unit, Department of Medical Sciences, University Hospital of Siena (Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese. AOUS), Viale Bracci, 53100 Siena, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors equally contributed to the study.
Academic Editors: Jacques Zimmer and Vladimir Jurisic
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3182; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113182
Received: 19 October 2021 / Revised: 9 November 2021 / Accepted: 11 November 2021 / Published: 15 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Developments of Natural Killer (NK) Cells in Immunotherapy)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by coronavirus 2 emerged in Wuhan (China) in December 2019 and has severely challenged the human population. NK and T cells are involved in the progression of COVID-19 infection through the ability of NK cells to modulate T-cell responses, and by the stimulation of cytokine release. No detailed investigation of the NK cell landscape in clinical SARS-CoV-2 infection has yet been reported. A total of 35 COVID-19 hospitalised patients were stratified for clinical severity and 17 healthy subjects were enrolled. NK cell subsets and T cell subsets were analysed with flow cytometry. Serum cytokines were detected with a bead-based multiplex assay. Fewer CD56dimCD16brightNKG2A+NK cells and a parallel increase in the CD56+CD69+NK, CD56+PD-1+NK, CD56+NKp44+NK subset were reported in COVID-19 than HC. A significantly higher adaptive/memory-like NK cell frequency in patients with severe disease than in those with mild and moderate phenotypes were reported. Moreover, adaptive/memory-like NK cell frequencies were significantly higher in patients who died than in survivors. Severe COVID-19 patients showed higher serum concentrations of IL-6 than mild and control groups. Direct correlation emerged for IL-6 and adaptive/memory-like NK. All these findings provide new insights into the immune response of patients with COVID-19. In particular, they demonstrate activation of NK through overexpression of CD69 and CD25 and show that PD-1 inhibitory signalling maintains an exhausted phenotype in NK cells. These results suggest that adaptive/memory-like NK cells could be the basis of promising targeted therapy for future viral infections. View Full-Text
Keywords: NK cells; T cells; immunology; lung transplant; cytomegalovirus NK cells; T cells; immunology; lung transplant; cytomegalovirus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bergantini, L.; d'Alessandro, M.; Cameli, P.; Cavallaro, D.; Gangi, S.; Cekorja, B.; Sestini, P.; Bargagli, E. NK and T Cell Immunological Signatures in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19. Cells 2021, 10, 3182. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113182

AMA Style

Bergantini L, d'Alessandro M, Cameli P, Cavallaro D, Gangi S, Cekorja B, Sestini P, Bargagli E. NK and T Cell Immunological Signatures in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19. Cells. 2021; 10(11):3182. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113182

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bergantini, Laura, Miriana d'Alessandro, Paolo Cameli, Dalila Cavallaro, Sara Gangi, Behar Cekorja, Piersante Sestini, and Elena Bargagli. 2021. "NK and T Cell Immunological Signatures in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19" Cells 10, no. 11: 3182. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113182

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